Tag Archives: exact

Twickenham crowd must match Welsh noise makers – Chris Foy

Crowd at HQ must roar to silence wails of the Welsh

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UPDATED:

23:22 GMT, 6 December 2012

It must be some kind of record. Almost three years before England v Wales at the next World Cup and the mutual antagonism is already evident.

When the draw was made on Monday for the
2015 tournament, Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Roger Lewis caught
the host nation on the hop by offering to stage the Pool A clash between
the old foes in Cardiff. England’s stunned response was of the ‘thanks,
but no thanks’ variety.

Let’s cut through the sabre-rattling here. The game will not take place in Cardiff. That scenario is unthinkable. It is England’s event and although much is made of the organisers being independent of the RFU, conceding home advantage to their near neighbours is a non-starter.

Turn it up: Twickenham Stadium needs to bring the noise against Wales

Turn it up: Twickenham Stadium needs to bring the noise against Wales

More from Chris Foy…

Chris Foy: Early World Cup draw can sow seeds of discontent
29/11/12

Chris Foy: New guru Parker will soon learn rugby is not an exact science
22/11/12

Chris Foy world of rugby: Lam's back, so it could be the chop for Howley
15/11/12

Chris Foy: Six injured and counting, Lancaster needs stability
01/11/12

World of rugby: Ireland facing the music as Strauss gets a call-up
25/10/12

Chris Foy: More referees will follow Lawrence's example and quit if this hounding goes on
18/10/12

Chris Foy: Let's play! Time for TV war to take a back seat as the Heineken Cup returns
11/10/12

Chris Foy: On your bike, Cowan! No rest for the Gloucester new boy
07/10/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

The Millennium Stadium will be used as a World Cup venue on the simple basis that it suits English requirements. It satisfies the need for a geographical spread of matches. The West Country has a passion for rugby but lacks big stadiums, so taking games to Cardiff ticks a strategic box.

While there is no realistic prospect of England v Wales taking place there, Lewis will lobby strongly for the Millennium Stadium to host Wales v Australia. He will press his point on the basis that the home of Welsh rugby is ‘the best rugby stadium in the world’. He’s right. It is.

Located in the heart of Cardiff, on matchdays it is the heart of Cardiff, with a loud pulse all of its own. Twickenham is bigger, but the Millennium’s stands are steeper and closer, creating an intensity of atmosphere which is enhanced when the roof is shut.

So much is about the people. In Cardiff, there is fervent support, in London it is more passive.

Many Twickenham patrons turn up to be entertained, as if at the opera, while their Welsh counterparts embrace an interactive experience. There are contrasting demographics and they create a contrasting backdrop.

England’s players talk dutifully of wonderful support, but in truth they largely have to perform for their crowd, rather than feed off vocal backing.

Even when the hordes responded to the Haka last Saturday by singing Swing Low, there was one full-throttle rendition, then an almost apologetic second take which petered out into murmuring near-silence.

Ultimately, the England v Wales pool game at the World Cup won’t be staged at the Millennium, but perhaps the away players from the ‘host’ nation would be more inspired by the commotion if it was.

Commotion: There is normally a great atmosphere in the Millenium Stadium

Commotion: There is normally a great atmosphere in the Millenium Stadium

How are the Lions looking

Now that the dust has settled on the autumn Tests, it’s another opportune moment to predict how the Lions might line up for their first Test against Australia in June.

Based partly on form and partly on long-standing personal preference, a possible matchday 23 is listed below. One striking factor is the physical power of what would surely be the most imposing threequarter line the Lions have ever mustered, plus a bench role for that great wasted Welsh talent, James Hook.

Chris Foy’s latest Lions matchday Test squad: Halfpenny; Visser, Tuilagi, Roberts, North; Sexton, B Youngs; Healy, Hartley, Cole; Parling, Gray; Wood, Heaslip, Warburton (capt). Replacements: Best, Corbisiero, A Jones, Lawes, Robshaw, Phillips, Hook, Foden.

Wasted talent: Chris Foy would include James Hook on the bench

Wasted talent: Chris Foy would include James Hook on the bench

Captain Chris tackles his critics

Among modern sporting cliches, ‘he does his talking on the pitch’ is particularly well-worn, but it was a fitting summary of Chris Robshaw’s defiant work last weekend.

He had been lambasted for a close call at the end of England’s defeat against South Africa, but the national captain presented a stoic face and responded with stirring deeds in the epic win over New Zealand.

Once again, his leadership was confirmed by the raft of post-match data, which showed he was England’s leading carrier and second in the tackle count, with 19, missing none. What was most illuminating was that Robshaw hit 27 rucks, while blindside flanker Tom Wood led that list with 39.

This indicates that the back-row balance was right. Put these two together and they cover all bases required of a 6-7 combination, with a blurring of the demarcation lines, which works well.

This may present problems for Tom Croft when he is fit to press for a recall, as the rangy Tiger is a different beast entirely and his lesser impact at the breakdown means he may struggle to break up the Wood-Robshaw axis.

Stepping up: Chris Robshaw showed his worth against the All Blacks

Stepping up: Chris Robshaw showed his worth against the All Blacks

The Last Word

One of the most daunting challenges for World Cup organisers will be to sell out large stadiums in the north, but it appears the RFU aren’t rushing to assist. There have been suggestions that, prior to the tournament, a major Test could be relocated to a northern venue such as Old Trafford, but that concept now appears to be on ice. The reason is — shock, horror — money.

RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie said: ‘There are financial imperatives. If Xmillion doesn’t come in because we don’t play at Twickenham, how many regional development officers is that worth I don’t think we would be dashing to do it (play in the north).

Also, is a single match really going to transform things’

First of all, it is outrageously simplistic to say moving a Test up north = less revenue = reduction in grass-roots funding. The RFU spend a lot of money on a lot of things, not just development officers. Old Trafford’s capacity is only 6,000 below Twickenham’s and it has ample corporate facilities, so why not take a modest monetary ‘hit’ for the good of the game The answer is tied up in considerations such as the debenture scheme at HQ, which discourages an ‘away-day’ Test.

Ritchie cannot dismiss that concept, then argue — as he did — that taking the Saxons up north is a viable solution. Only the senior team against ‘A’-list rivals will have the desired effect.

Matt Parker will learn rugby is not exact science – Chris Foy

New guru Parker will soon learn rugby is not an exact science

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UPDATED:

23:00 GMT, 22 November 2012

When England were building towards their 2003 World Cup triumph, Clive Woodward repeatedly talked of the ‘one per centers’ — the focus on minor details which combined to give his side a crucial advantage.

Now the concept is back on the agenda for the national team, but this time they are taking their cue from British Cycling. Matt Parker, the sports scientist who was head of ‘marginal gains’ and played such a part in the glorious exploits in the Olympic Velodrome during London 2012, will soon be working at Twickenham as head of athletic performance.

It was unfortunate that news of the appointment should come on the back of a grim home defeat. This presented a comedic open-goal, and sure enough one wag on Twitter quipped: ‘It isn’t a marginal gain they need, it’s a cavernous gain.’

Different ball game: Matt Parker was head of 'marginal gains' for the cycling team at the Olympics

Different ball game: Matt Parker was head of 'marginal gains' for the cycling team at the Olympics

Yet, what the new recruit represents is an encouraging desire for England to set global standards once again, using any trump card they can muster. Expertise from within the ranks of British Cycling could serve as a major asset in that regard.

More from Chris Foy…

Chris Foy world of rugby: Lam's back, so it could be the chop for Howley
15/11/12

Chris Foy: Six injured and counting, Lancaster needs stability
01/11/12

World of rugby: Ireland facing the music as Strauss gets a call-up
25/10/12

Chris Foy: More referees will follow Lawrence's example and quit if this hounding goes on
18/10/12

Chris Foy: Let's play! Time for TV war to take a back seat as the Heineken Cup returns
11/10/12

Chris Foy: On your bike, Cowan! No rest for the Gloucester new boy
07/10/12

World of Rugby: Tait's style is a welcome change from big hitters
04/10/12

Chris Foy: This legacy could make kids losers
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However, what Parker will find is a sport where the appliance of science is, in a sense, a more subtle and complex business than it is in cycling. Rugby presents a less defined challenge for his winning methods. Granted, much comes down to physical preparation and a successful mind-set, which he will recognise, but raw emotion and collective will come into the equation in a way he may not.

Rugby and science have become joined at the hip. Players wear GPS tracking devices to gauge speed and movement, their heart-rate is monitored and analysed. Diets are strictly controlled, gym regimes are meticulously prepared.

But this is a game which puts an onus on raw courage and that cannot be drilled, although the work of psychologists helps. And old-school values have not been wholly eradicated. In France, there is still plenty of bread on the table and many players still enjoy a drop of red. Saracens have made a virtue of their ‘bonding’ weekends at Munich’s Oktoberfest and elsewhere.

There was a striking contrast after Argentina’s win in Cardiff this month. While the vanquished trooped off for stints in an ice chamber to aid their recovery, the victors cracked open a crate of cider. So, England are right to embrace progress and a visionary approach but they would be wise to strike a balance between new ways and old.

Quote of the week

England flanker Tom Wood reveals how he manages a persistent foot problem with this unusual alternative to a traditional spa session: ‘I put my foot in ice — I make it hot and cold to flush inflammation out.

‘I also claw with my feet in buckets of sand and rice in order to strengthen the toes. I try to do it three times a day. It’s generally done down in the physio room.

‘It’s quite nice here at Pennyhill Park, we have the massage and physio room downstairs, with the TV on, so I can just head down there and get the various treatments I need. I can get pampered for an afternoon in a bucket of rice!’

Rice is nice: Tom Wood loves to be pampered in a bucket of grain

Rice is nice: Tom Wood loves to be pampered in a bucket of grain

You’re still a hero at Exeter, Tom

Rob Baxter, Exeter’s director of rugby, evidently has a canny grasp of man-management. On Tuesday, he was given the unexpected news that Tom Johnson would be back with the Chiefs this weekend, after being dropped by England. His response was of the arm-round-the-shoulder kind — a strong public statement of faith in his surely despondent player.

‘Tom’s been incredibly unlucky but sometimes players get dropped on the back of a team performance rather than an individual one and that is what has happened with him,’ said Baxter. ‘He’s in that unfortunate position where he hasn’t done anything wrong. Most people have been very complimentary about the way he’s played.

‘I’m a little upset for Tom, but sometimes it’s a case of, “Last man in, first man out”, when they’ve looked to make changes, which I can understand.’

Thus, Baxter tactfully questioned England’s selection and bolstered Johnson’s self-esteem. Expect the flanker to respond with a storming performance against London Irish on Sunday.

The final word

To call this a big weekend for Wales would be something of an under-statement.

With the edifice of Welsh rugby seemingly on the brink of collapse, Lions coach Warren Gatland is back at the helm, with a Midas touch needed to avert a calamity against the All Blacks. Mixed messages are emerging about morale in the ranks.

Blame game: Warren Gatland said the media created a 'rift' in his squad

Blame game: Warren Gatland said the media created a 'rift' in his squad

On the one hand, the Kiwi was relaxed when naming his side and revealed that a quip to his management team at the start of the week that ‘the Messiah is back’ was met by a mocking put-down, which he took to be an encouraging sign.

Yet, on the other hand, Gatland condemned the media for supposedly creating a ‘rift’ between openside rivals Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric, while Jonathan Davies laid bare the hurt over criticism of players on Twitter.

If there is a concerted attempt to circle the wagons and create an us-against-the-world, siege mentality ahead of tomorrow’s clash with New Zealand, that could be an astute move. But if these are indications of a thin-skinned squad feeling the strain, heaven help them when Richie McCaw and Co set about them.

Joe Hart could be England captain ahead of Wayne Rooney

New captain Manchester City goalkeeper Hart is a safe pair of hands for England

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 10 October 2012

For the England team everything is being done a little bit differently this week.

They have their new home at St George's Park and on Wednesday they made the first coach journey south that will become the norm before home games.

It took two hours to travel from their East Staffordshire base to The Grove in Hertfordshire after training one more time on the exact replica of the Wembley pitch which they now get to use.

No 1 choice: Hart has an aura of invincibility about him

No 1 choice: Hart has an aura of invincibility about him

Today they will return to borrowing Arsenal's training base at London Colney. The changes may not stop there, however.

As well as a new system that could see Wayne Rooney operating in a deeper role behind one striker and possibly two, the team could find themselves under the leadership of a new captain if Frank Lampard struggles to complete the session.

Roy Hodgson remained hopeful Lampard would recover from a knee injury he suffered last weekend and take the armband in the absence of the suspended Steven Gerrard against San Marino.

Injury doubt: Lampard could yet miss the World Cup qualifier against San Marino

Injury doubt: Lampard could yet miss the World Cup qualifier against San Marino

But if Lampard suffers a setback and cannot take his place in England's midfield, Hodgson will have to identify another captain.

Given the age of Gerrard and Lampard, it could be an appointment that gives an insight into England's future.

The choice would appear to be a straight one between Wayne Rooney and Joe Hart, and this week both men spoke of what an honour it would be, but only one of them said the job should go to the other guy.

Hart said it should be Rooney, even if he was probably being modest and respectful towards a player with 52 more caps than he has.

Leading by example: Rooney is favourite to land the captain's armband for England

Leading by example: Rooney is favourite to land the captain's armband for England

'I'm pretty sure it will fall to Wayne,' said Hart. 'He is our star man with 10 million caps at the age of whatever he is, 26 I imagine he is a little bit further up the queue than me.

'Of course, I would be honoured to be the captain. Anyone would. But that's life. I didn't go in goal thinking I wanted to be captain. I just want to play. I'm happy to play and do my best for the team, whether you've got the armband or you haven' t got the armband.

'It is a great thing to play for your country. I really do mean that. I'm not particularly thinking about being a captain. I'm thinking about being a goalkeeper. It is a big responsibility and one I take on board and try to work well with defenders and defending midfielders, and try to help as much as I can up the field as well.

'I have been here a little while now. I might not be that old but I try to help in any way I can.'

Confident: The Manchester City goalkeeper is comfortable in the media spotlight

Confident: The Manchester City goalkeeper is comfortable in the media spotlight

Rooney talked a good game this week, suggesting that it was time he started to set an example as one of the senior players. But whether he has the temperament for the captaincy – and the desire to fulfil the media commitments that come with the job – remains to be seen.

He is already the most important player in the side and Hodgson would have to consider whether Rooney needs that extra responsibility.

Hart, 25, is certainly comfortable in the media arena and he has an aura of invincibility that would make him a good choice, even if managers usually prefer to have an outfield player as their skipper

However, it is also worth noting that Peter Shilton captained England 15 times and the great Dino Zoff – now 70 – led Italy to victory at the 1982 World Cup.

New-look England: Hodgson could opt for an ultra-attacking line-up against San Marino on Friday night

New-look England: Hodgson could opt for an ultra-attacking line-up against San Marino on Friday night

Whether Hart leads England depends, of course, on Lampard, and Hodgson will want the Chelsea midfielder playing a full part in training when he plans to spend more time working on what promises to be an ambitious formation against San Marino.

Securing three World Cup qualification points is the main objective but after that the England manager would like to entertain what, amazingly, will be a sell-out crowd at Wembley.

That means putting on something of a show against a side who have lost 48 games on the bounce, with plenty of goals expected.

Last night there was a suggestion Hodgson might be looking to explore a system employed by Sir Alex Ferguson at Newcastle on Sunday; one that could see Andy Carroll and Danny Welbeck deployed ahead of Rooney in a much more aggressive England attack.

Having a player of Lampard's experience in midfield could influence how cavalier Hodgson chooses to be, while he also needs to use the game to build towards the more difficult business of next Tuesday's encounter with Poland in Warsaw.

But a new England nevertheless appears to be evolving under Hodgson: one that has a new home and, with John Terry now gone, might just be taking a new direction, too.

BATTLE FOR THE ARMBAND by Matt BarlowWayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney

Fabio Capello hailed him as a captain of the future and handed him the honour three years ago, when England played Brazil in a friendly in Qatar. 'He is a leader and a good example on the pitch,' said Capello. 'He could be captain one day.' Rooney is England's world-class talent, although this has sometimes appeared too much for him to cope with and his international form has suffered lulls. The captaincy would add to the burden. This time last year he was needlessly sent off in Montenegro and banned for the first two games of Euro 2012.

Joe Hart

Joe Hart

When asked about the captaincy, he instinctively deferred to Rooney but
the Manchester City keeper has made such an impact at the start of his
international career that he is a candidate. Confident, inclusive and
popular with an infectious personality, he has the attributes. There is
sense, however, in keeping the pressure off him and allowing him to
continue his good work in goal. The last thing England needs is for the
form of their goalkeeper, one of the few things Hodgson has been able to
rely upon, to vanish due to additional distractions.

Rafael Nadal escapes knee operation

Crocked Nadal escapes knee surgery and could be back training in a month

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UPDATED:

19:00 GMT, 5 September 2012

Rafael Nadal will not need surgery and could be back on the practice court in a month's time, according to his doctor.

The world No 3 has been out of action since his shock defeat by Lukas Rosol in the second round of Wimbledon and revealed this week he does not expect to return to competition for another two months.

Return: Rafael Nadal could be back in training next month

Return: Rafael Nadal could be back in training next month

Nadal has a partially torn patella tendon in his left knee, which has already caused him to miss the Olympics and the US Open, but Dr Angel Ruiz Cotorro is happy with his progress.

Talking in Barcelona he said: 'We have established through the latest tests that the tendon is responding well to treatment.

'Tendons heal slowly and we propose to continue this treatment and rule out the possibility of surgery.'

Nadal has been dogged by knee problems throughout his career and it would be a surprise if he played again this season, although he could be tempted by a Davis Cup final on clay in November if Spain beat the USA in the semi-finals without him later this month.

Struggle: Nadal has suffered with a knee injury for much of the season and had to pull out of the US Open and the Olympics

Struggle: Nadal has suffered with a knee injury for much of the season and had to pull out of the US Open and the Olympics

But Dr Ruiz Cotorro is confident the injury will not have any long-term effects providing Nadal only returns to the court when the tendon has fully healed.

He said: 'Medicine is not an exact science but, knowing Rafa and how he heals, we believe there is enough time. We need not rush.

'Rafa was on an upward curve when we told him he couldn't participate in the major competitions, and that day he was not happy at all.

'But now he is in a perfect state of mind, wanting to recover and get back in action soon.

'In a period of one month, if the tests are positive, he can resume training.

'But that is not the priority, which is that the tendon recovers its strength.'

Sergio Aguero and Mario Balotelli injury worries for Manchester City

Aguero hopes to be back within weeks after scan on injured knee… as Balotelli hands Man City another scare

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UPDATED:

07:01 GMT, 20 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Sergio Aguero will be playing again within weeks after a scan on the star striker's injured knee on Sunday.

Aguero twisted his right knee following a challenge by Southampton's Nathaniel Clyne early in City's dramatic 3-2 win.

In another worrying development for City, Mario Balotelli twisted a knee in the post-match warm-down and was seen wincing. A six-a-side practice game was interrupted by Balotelli's pain, although City sources later played this down.

City manager Roberto Mancini said he was 'very worried' that Aguero may have suffered a serious injury, but Aguero said on Twitter on Sunday night: 'The studies I had done revealed there's no significant injury but it was a very tough blow to my knee.

Off: Sergio Aguero was taken off on a stretcher during City's match against Southampton

Off: Sergio Aguero was taken off on a stretcher during City's match against Southampton

Under cover: Aguero was smuggled into hospital on Sunday night wearing a knee brace

Under cover: Aguero was smuggled into hospital on Sunday night wearing a knee brace

Under cover: Aguero was smuggled into hospital on Sunday night wearing a knee brace

'Tomorrow, the physicians will evaluate the time it will take for me to recover.

'I have no words to thank for your concern for me and with this much support, I'll recover faster.

'And I want to congratulate my team mates for their effort in turning this game around. Now more than ever – C4MON @MCFC !!'

Aguero's knee is very swollen and the Argentine will need more tests this week to determine the exact extent of the damage.

Speaking about Aguero after the game,
Mancini said: 'We need to wait and, while I hope it is not serious, it
is a worry. It is important luck is on your side over the course of a
season, but we have been unfortunate with this injury. The knee is
always dangerous.

Gutted: The Sergio Aguero looked disappointed to have missed out on the rest of City's 3-2 victory

Gutted: The Sergio Aguero looked disappointed to have missed out on the rest of City's 3-2 victory

'It was so strange because there was no issue with the tackle. It was not a strong tackle, and Sergio wanted to play on.

'Maybe he is out for a week, or three or four weeks, or until after the international break. We have to see.'

City almost threw away the advantage
given them by Carlos Tevez's 40th-minute opener, and Mancini admitted
his side's slipshod defending concerned him.

Accident: Clyne played the ball but caught Aguero as his momentum carried him into the striker

Accident: Clyne played the ball but caught Aguero as his momentum carried him into the striker

'We didn't play well with our defenders, but it is not always their fault,' he said.

'We had enough chances to close the
game out.' While Mancini ponders possible attacking reinforcements
should Aguero be out for several weeks, he remains hopeful of prising
Italy midfielder Daniele de Rossi away from Roma.

Reports from Italy last night claimed the 29-year-old hard man was ready to move to City for around 30million.

Chris Tremlett could face surgery

EXCLUSIVE: Tremlett could face knee surgery as fears grow over bowler's future

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UPDATED:

21:34 GMT, 23 July 2012

England fast bowler Chris Tremlett will see a knee specialist later this week amid concerns about his future at the highest level.

The 6ft 7in seamer, 31 in September, missed Surrey’s county championship match against Nottinghamshire last week, the official explanation being that he was ‘heavy-legged’.

But a specialist will now determine the exact nature of the injury to his right knee, with sources fearing he could face surgery. An operation would almost certainly rule him out of the rest of the summer and threaten his place in England’s tour party for the four-Test series in India starting in November.

Concern: Chris Tremlett continues to be troubled by a knee injury

Concern: Chris Tremlett continues to be troubled by a knee injury

Tremlett had only recently returned to first-class cricket after flying home early from England’s tour of the UAE in January with back trouble.

Injuries have limited him to only 11 Test appearances, which have brought 49 wickets at an average of 26 — but he has played in only one of England’s last 12 Tests after his starring role in series wins over Australia and Sri Lanka.

Since then he has fallen behind Tim Bresnan, Steven Finn and Graham Onions in England’s competitive seam-bowling hierarchy.

QPR to reveal plans for new 45,000 stadium

Fernandes says QPR to reveal plans for new 45,000 stadium

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UPDATED:

08:42 GMT, 9 July 2012

QPR are set to unveil plans for a new 45,000 seater stadium in west London on Monday – but with the exact location yet to be finalised.

The R’s are looking for a new home as Loftus Road is the smallest ground in the Premier League with a capacity of 18,439.

Despite averaging gates 17,295 in their first season back in the Premier League, the club believe they can fill a stadium of double that.

Moving on: QPR are looking to leave Loftus Road

Moving on: QPR are looking to leave Loftus Road

The club have been proactive in their attempts to find a plot of land for a new stadium in the west London area and QPR chairman Tony Fernandes revealed on Monday morning that the club are evaluating two potential sites.

He said on his Twitter account: ‘QPR fans. We are not ready to announce stadium. But making good progress.

‘Will not be a bowl. Will keep the atmosphere. Will be 45k capacity. Will be in West London. Narrowed down to 2 places.

Big ambitions: Tony Fernandes has been in charge of QPR for 11 months and wants to take the club to the next stage

Big ambitions: Tony Fernandes has been in charge of QPR for 11 months and wants to take the club to the next stage

‘I hope we can announce full details within the next 2 months. But as you can imagine this is not easy but tremendous work has been done.

‘Our major announcement today is at 3 o clock and what the shareholders of QPR believe is a statement of Intent for the future.’

QPR said in a statement last week: 'The announcement will put the QPR brand on a global scale and is further demonstration of the Board’s continuing efforts to move the club forward and become established in the Barclays Premier League.'

Emmanuel Adebayor wants Chelsea revenge

Adebayor seeking Chelsea revenge as Spurs striker looks to end silverware duck

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UPDATED:

14:19 GMT, 14 April 2012

Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor is determined to exact revenge on Chelsea for ruining his only Wembley appearance three years ago.

Adebayor will lead the line for Spurs at Wembley on Sunday as the north London club look to move one step closer to lifting their first FA Cup in 21 years by beating Chelsea in their semi-final.

Having spent five years on the books of Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham it is surprising that Adebayor has not yet won a single competition in England – the only piece of silverware he has to his name is a winner's medal from the 2011 Copa del Rey triumph with Real Madrid.

Get a grip! Adebayor in trainign ahead of the semi showdown with Chelsea

Get a grip! Adebayor in trainign ahead of the semi showdown with Chelsea

For a striker who has been a part of the fibre of English football for so long, it is also surprising that Adebayor has only made one appearance at Wembley so far in his career – Arsenal's 2-1 defeat in the 2009 FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea.

The loss, which came in Adebayor's final season at Arsenal, still rankles with the 28-year-old and he hopes to put that right on Sunday.

'My only appearance at Wembley so far was that 2-1 loss so my memories are not good,' Adebayor said.

'But this is a new game and we want to win. Football is all about winning medals and they are the moments in life that you can look back on with pride.

'I want to win the FA Cup so I can show my medal to my kids and say “look what daddy won!”

'I didn't win anything with Arsenal, I didn't win anything with Manchester City, so I want to win the FA Cup with Tottenham. To do that would be special, a dream for me.

Trophies Which trophies Adebayor is yet to win anything in England

Trophies Which trophies Adebayor is yet to win anything in England

'Tottenham haven't won a trophy since 2008 and so it would be great to win silverware again. We are two wins away from achieving that.”

Having seen Chelsea win 11 trophies since 1991 compared to Tottenham's two, Harry Redknapp is determined that his men can step up and lose their 'nearly-men' tag this season.

Their form going in to tomorrow's clash could hardly be worse, however. Spurs have won just one of their last eight Barclays Premier League games and Redknapp also has an injury crisis to contend with having lost Younes Kaboul and Niko Kranjcar this week.

But Tottenham just edged a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge last month and lead the Blues in the table by two points, making Adebayor confident of victory.

'It will be a tough game against Chelsea,' he said. 'We know them well as a team but I believe we can beat them. They are not vulnerable, but certainly beatable and if we believe in ourselves, we can win.'

Flying high: The Spurs striker lost on his only other appearance at Wembley

Flying high: The Spurs striker lost on his only other appearance at Wembley

Wembley is a place that holds mixed emotions for Redknapp. The 65-year-old won the FA Cup with Portsmouth in 2008 but made an unsuccessful return the following year when his Spurs team lost to Pompey in the semi-final.

That shock defeat gave Redknapp a sleepless night – 'I had to send a car out to get me some sleeping pills,' he said.

Very much from the old school of football, Redknapp used to cherish watching a Wembley final on his nine-inch television, and admits playing the semi-finals at the home of English football is a strange experience for him.

He said: 'It will always be strange not having the semis on two neutral grounds, but it's a great day out for the fans.'

Having been reluctant to rotate his squad throughout the season, Redknapp's XI have looked like a team running out of steam recently.

Scott Parker, who is fit to play after missing Monday's defeat against Norwich, last week complained about the rigours of a long season, but Redknapp has called on the team to put in one last push to win the cup and finish in the top four.

'I'm sure they're feeling a bit tired now but at the end of the day we have a maximum of seven games,' Redknapp added.

'Every one is a cup final so we have to give it everything and push to the end of the season to make sure we get what we want.'

Wayne Smith on verge of England role

EXCLUSIVE: England on the verge of landing Kiwi Smith after Farrell snub

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 13 April 2012

The RFU are poised to finalise terms with Wayne Smith next week following Andy Farrell’s decision to reject an England coaching post.

Graham Henry’s World Cup-winning assistant is under contract with Waikato Chiefs, but sources at the New Zealand provincial side have indicated that they are resigned to losing him when their season ends in the late summer.

Wayne's World: Smith is set to become part of England's set up

Wayne's World: Smith is set to become part of England's set up

Sportsmail has been told Smith would
not leave the Chiefs, even temporarily, during the current Super 15
campaign, which rules him out of England’s tour of South Africa in June.

However, the former Northampton coach
is keen on a new challenge at Twickenham and a deal is imminent, though
Smith wants clarification about the exact nature of the post before
signing.

In the short-term, England require
additional coaches for their tour, with Mike Catt’s name to the fore.
The World Cup-winning centre is primed to leave London Irish next month
amid speculation that he will return to Bath, who are due to interview
Gary Gold again this weekend for the vacant head coach job.

On top of the world: Smith was part of the All Blacks set-up which won the Webb Ellis trophy

On top of the world: Smith was part of the All Blacks set-up which won the Webb Ellis trophy

However, Sportsmail has learned that
Catt is planning a one-year ‘sabbatical’ which would see him spend time
with rugby teams around the world, to further his development.

Gloucester’s former England captain
Mike Tindall is facing the threat of an abrupt end to his career. Having
been told he won’t be retained at Kingsholm, he does not have other
playing offers at this stage.

Meanwhile, Harlequins' former All Blacks fly-half Nick Evans has tweeted his backing for Smith's appointment, posting: 'The RFU need to sign up Wayne Smith…it's a no-brainer!!!'

Lotus out of testing in Barcelona

Chassis problems force Lotus out of F1 testing in Barcelona

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has taken the painful decision of pulling his marque out of the remainder of this week's second Formula One pre-season test in Barcelona.

Running an upgraded chassis from the first test in Jerez earlier this month, Lotus were forced to call an early halt to the first of the four-day session at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Romain Grosjean, who had been quickest of the 2012 cars in Jerez, almost immediately noticed an issue with the car, bringing the curtain down on the team's plans after just seven laps.

Testing times: Lotus have taken the radical decision to leave Jerez

Testing times: Lotus have taken the radical decision to leave Jerez

Lotus swiftly opted to fly out the initial chassis used in Jerez, however have now aborted that idea in order to give them enough time to rectify the situation.

Lotus chiefs have refused to be drawn on the exact nature of the issue, although it is clearly serious given they will now not run for the remaining three days of this week in Barcelona.

Boullier said: 'Not running this week has been a tough decision to take, but we feel our choice is the right one.

'On the positive side, we have quickly identified the issue with the chassis and our design office has already devised a solution.

'We draw faith from the fact the E20 was quick out of the box in Jerez and showed its reliability there.

'We have a lot of work ahead of us over the next week, but everyone at Enstone is ready for this challenge.'

Plus points: The F1 team are taking positives from the developments

Plus points: The F1 team are taking positives from the developments

Boullier has confirmed the team will be on track when the third and final four-day test gets under way in Barcelona from March 1.

Although the car passed all FIA crash tests, mandatory from this season before testing began, today's few laps seemingly highlighted some defect.

Technical director James Allison explained: “Before we were due to fly out chassis E20-01 (used in Jerez) we ran a series of simulations at the factory based on the data provided by our brief running on track today.

'As a result, we were able to identify an area which requires some additional work.

'It will be more productive for us to carry out these modifications to both chassis at Enstone rather than send E20-01 out to this week's test.

'We'll put the right measures in place and we will be able to fix the problem before next week.'

The lack of track time lost this week, however, puts a serious dent in Lotus' preparations, and that of drivers Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen, ahead of the season-opening race in Australia from March 16-18.